Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mother's Day Project Revisited!

Last year I posted about my favorite Mother's Day project. It's tried and true and mommies LOVE it!
(Is it cheating to repost? I hope not!)

We make ours out of ceramic clay but there were many years when I couldn't afford to do that and we used baker's clay.

I've included the little poem to go along with it and a new way to package it up to go home!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Heads up! Mother's Day project is here!

It's time to post something new! Here's a fun project for Mother's Day. It takes a while to complete so you better get started now!

 A shout out to my sister for this project. She's a teacher also and taught me how to do this probably 20 years ago! This sample is made out of salt dough but I have also made a ceramic version (we have a local ceramics shop that sends an expert to take over). The ceramic hand will last longer and is my favorite, but I have had years when I couldn't afford the cost and the salt dough is less expensive. This turns out well also.  Here goes...

Begin with your favorite salt dough recipe (leave a comment if you need the recipe).

Mix small amounts because it dries out quickly! I can only manage to make a few of these per day so I usually mix up enough for 4 or 5 hands. Make sure it's kneaded enough so that it feels as soft as skin!  The consistency of the dough is very important. If it is too soft it will droop. Keep the extra in a bowl and cover with a damp towel.

Flour the cutting board and roll the dough to about the same thickness as their hand. I wear an apron but somehow manage to be completely covered in flour all day. Nothing new, I'm a mess every day - paint, glitter, chalk dust...

Anyhow, once you have it all rolled out, have the child gently lay their hand on top of the dough. You don't want them to press down! Trace around the hand with a pencil and cut it out with a table knife. The hand will look rough, with square fingertips. Let the kids help with following steps:

Using a dab of water, smooth the hand edges and round the fingers. Don't use too much water or you'll  end up with mush. Work on this for a while to make the edges more rounded so it looks like a real hand.

Next, flip the hand over and soften those edges as well. Press in fingernails with the end of a table knife. Flip it over again, palm up.

Press a wooden skewer into the palm of the hand.

Now fold the fingers over the skewer, ending with the thumb. Using a sharp pencil, press in the child's initials and year.

I take the hands home for next few steps. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them at about 250 degrees until they turn light brown (it takes a long time!). Watch carefully and twist the skewer inside the hand every once in a while or it will bake into the dough and stick. Let cool completely. Your family will think you're baking bread! Ha!

Remove the skewer.


Next,  slip some flowers through the little tunnel you created with the skewer. Use glue to secure. I really like straw flowers and hate all things plastic, but in this case I recommend the plastic; they'll hold up better in the hands of a five year old!

I help the kids wrap the hands in bubble wrap, tissue and a ribbon. We make a little purse out of colored lunch bags and jewels. Mommies love these keepsakes.

Here's the poem to go with it:

Here are some flowers bright and bold
Held by the hand you love to hold.
Someday the flowers will disappear
But this little hand will always be near.

Here are some new ways to package it and send it home:

Gift bags made from newspaper

Love this! Find the tutorial here.
Learn how to make these great Botanical Tea purses with a great tutorial from Kristin Wilson using brown paper lunch bags! Isn't this clever? #graphic45 #tutorials

Find this bag here.
Darling Treat bags

How about some cards?
Mother's Day Cards
I think this may be my favorite!

Hidden Message Card
Hidden Message Card
And for Cinco De Mayo I just had to throw these in! I've made them several times and  they always turn out!

Cinco de Mayo project?
 1

Have fun!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm tired and I was only at school for 2 days. I'm so happy it's the weekend.
This is quite a stretch since I was hardly in my classroom this week!

Thank you to Doodle Bugs for hosting my favorite linky. It's the only one I participate in because it takes me hours and then I spend the day fretting about what I've written. It's exhausting! :)


We made another quilt. 
It's not done yet, but the kids will be thrilled with the results. I can already tell!

Here's how we made it:
I always go online to see if there's a quilt I'd like to duplicate. This is the quilt I chose this time:


Sunkissed By Spring QuiltTutorial on the Moda Bake Shop. http://www.modabakeshop.com

Sunkissed By Spring QuiltTutorial on the Moda Bake Shop. http://www.modabakeshop.com

Sunkissed By Spring QuiltTutorial on the Moda Bake Shop.
First, I make a sample square, exactly as it will look when they're done. Some of the kids need this to refer to when glueing pieces down.




Then, I photocopy how ever many I may need. This year, I need 7 of each different square.


Next, I cut and cut and cut! 
When I finished cutting all the paper for this quilt, I was sure it was going to be too difficult for kinders. I was going to hand it over to 8th grade.

I took a leap of faith and decided to let them give it a try...
I've put like pieces in bowls for them before, but this time I simply dumped the pieces all over the table.
No problem!!!
They looked at it as a puzzle and got right to work. I couldn't keep up with  them and they were up out of their seats looking for their pieces. 

Here's the somewhat finished product. I have to glue the squares to a big piece of colored butcher paper and use a cute border. That will happen on Moanday (that was a typo, but I liked it because sometimes that's how I feel about Mondays) and I'll be sure to post it!

You may look at this quilt and think it's pretty, but as I'm looking at this quilt, I marvel at the sheer number of quilt squares.
 I see so much more than 28 blocks.
I see 28 names.
28 unique and wonderful little people.
And then, as I break out in a sweat, I realize I am responsible for those 28 little, precious people. It's up to me to make sure they feel loved and valued and get everything they need to succeed in first grade. And, hopefully, do all this with a happy spirit and provide them with a warm and caring environment. And, I only have 30 some days left with them.
I'm already getting sentimental about graduation.



I love morning glories, as does my friend Carolyn Kislowski (she posted about her class and their morning glories). So, I thought I'd make a morning glory hat for the kids.

Here's a little poem to go with it!
Morning Glories are my favorite flower,
They rise and shine at an early hour.
They like to climb and cling to things,
And they're ready for whatever the daylight brings.
They're bright and happy and sometimes blue,
They grow so fast it can't be true.
Why do I like them? Can't you see?
Morning glories are just like me!

In the fall, I posted about a pumpkin hat that I'd seen on a Martha Stewart site. It is so cute and my kids love it. I remembered that they also showed how to make a morning glory and a rose crepe paper hat, so off I went to her site.
I had fun making a mini one first and then I tried the larger size. HA!
These didn't turn out as I had hoped. My friend told me about a site where they have pictures of failed projects. First they show what  it's supposed to look like and then there's a picture of the botched up version. I should submit these pictures!







We've learned about our blends and so many other reading rules. It was time to reinforce 'Ol Chunky the Monkey. Carolyn, from Holding Hands and Sticking Together wrote a wonderful post about how to help kids use the strategy of looking at chunks of sounds rather than individual sounds to read big words. We followed her lesson exactly and than I added a directed art lesson to draw a Chunky of our own. This came from an I Can Draw book. I left this for the sub so I haven't seen the kid's version but I can't wait.
When they were done, they added words in chunks to try. I hope they had fun!
Thank you, sweet Carolyn, for another fabulous idea!
If you haven't visited her site, GO!


This just warmed my heart.

This little cutie patootie went to see Frozen. She was so enchanted with it that all she wanted to do was write the lyrics to the theme song. She wouldn't play at recess and we couldn't even get her to eat snack. I read and speak kinderese fluently, so I can decipher this monumental effort. I'm so impressed. However, I can't help but wonder, where is Mr. Spceman?


I've mentioned that my husband runs an amazing nonprofit rafting company. They're all over the western United States and our family has spent lots of time on the river.

Well, guess what!
Ok. Not really, only in my home.
No where else.
He interviewed me to see what advice I'd give to parents with young children going on our rafting trips.
He left out a lot.
Like how they used to put me in the lead boat so that I couldn't see my children row through rapids or jump off "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING" rocks.
And I sure look old.
Go to the link to check it out. Be sure to read Amy's interview. She's ahead of me in visits for a good reason.
Not that I'm counting or anything!
I think a bloggy meet up on the Rogue River would be so much fun.

 I'm off to get my clay for our Mother's Day project!
It never ends, does it?



Happy weekend!
Please leave a comment.
 I love each and every one of them!
Jump for joy
Jump for joy

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five for Friday

BABY bunny!
Hoppy Easter, everyone. How cute is this little fella? HA!

I'm a little late for Five for Friday.
I just couldn't muster the energy to write a post after the hoopla that happened in my classroom yesterday.  I came home and stared at the wall...

so cute.There are always some kids who have a tough time with parties and can't transition easily from one wild activity to another. It's just too much and all that nervous energy throws them off for the day.

Tears, meltdowns, and lots of stress eating.
We all have those days.
Once I got a grip, we had a great day.

I have to say that 28 peeled eggs in one room was a bit pungent. And I pretty much hate that basket grass. 

But the worst was my bunny costume. 

Twenty five years ago I had an bunny costume sewn by a friend. It's a patchwork bunny with stuffing in the tummy. It's seen better days but it's always been an indicator of weight gain or loss. 
Oh my, I've been avoiding the scale but once I tugged that silly costume on, it was obvious that I've gained some extra bunny fat. I provided my own stuffing in the tummy and other areas. Too many Cadbury eggs. I could barely walk, much less sit. Those seams were ready to rip. 
What's up with my whiskers, Doc?
I usually make this bunny nose. It's lots of work for me though, and with 28 bunnies this year I went looking for an easier option.


I loved this silly bunny disguise and made it with my little guys this week. I found it at Busy Bee Kids Craft. com.
Love it!
Funny Bunny Hat
It was so easy and made the kids giggle.
Exactly the criteria I look for with any activity!

I also usually make a more involved bonnet but with this many kids, I had to make the easy version.
Here's the labor intensive, but really fun version that we didn't make!










Here are our hats this year.

We made one for our principal. She looked lovely all day!
She's such a good sport.


I recently read an amazing post (Crazy Over Fluency) by Teacher to the Core Katie Knight. It was all about fluency and how to make it fun and effective (She also mentioned Cara Carroll's wonderful fluency packets in the post). I immediately went to their TPT stores and purchased both. I was in a fluency frenzy! Then, I found Annie Moffatt's fluency stories and bought that packet too. These women are amazing and have changed my reading lessons in a big and wonderful way!

Katie does an art lesson to go along with the reading passage for that week. I tried it last week and it was a huge hit! We read one of Annie Moffett's passages about a pig and made the one in the picuture below. Aren't these the cutest?

farm animals craft
Here's our version. We made paper legs 'cuz I saw trouble coming with those pipe cleaners, let me tell 'ya! This isn't my first rodeo. We added the ig word family list to roll up inside the piggie.



It was oviparous week, of course. We made a book from this packet that I've had forever.

The kids love it because it unfolds downward.





 This is from a shapes packet by Crystal McGinnis. We hung the shape pictures around the room and then I hid my eyes and counted to 10. The kids had to walk (HA!) to a shape by the time I finished counting. I said the name of a shape and, if they were standing under that shape sign, they had to sit down. They LOVED this game and they know their shapes now! I'm going to play this same game with sight words!!



I love heart shaped rocks.

My boys have given them to me since they were small. I love each and every one of them. It all started on a rafting trip many years ago when our boys were small (my husband runs a rafting company and we have taken many trips together. Wouldn't a blogger meet-up be fun on a river trip? Hmmmm). How lucky were my boys to have spent their summers on rivers? You should see them skip a rock!  :)

Anyway, we joined one of our commercial trips that was loaded with little kids and happened to camp that evening at a site with a rocky beach. Forever the teacher, I had all the kids looking for heart shaped rocks to keep them occupied while the guides set up camp and started dinner. We found lots and placed them on a rocky shelf that faced the river. Other rafters could see our display as they floated past. My husband told me that others contributed to the collection for the remainder of the summer. They stayed there for all to see until the water level washed them away.


I use to collect heart shaped rocks. Then I married a man who did the same thing.
I've decided to start a heart shaped garden in our kindergarden yard. It's drought proof and something that I can't kill from gardening neglect.  Each child is to bring a heart shaped rock for graduation. We'll write their name and graduation date on the back and place it in our designated spot. The deal is that you can borrow a rock if your having a tough day as long as you return it to the garden.
I found this one on my walk the other night.


Here are a few that have arrived. We can't walk past a pile of rocks without looking and it's taking us forever to get anywhere!

Happy Easter everyone! I'd love to hear from you!

Filigree eggshell. Beth Ann Magnuson of Bishop Hill, Illinois uses a SCM high-speed engraver to carve eggshells into works of art which she calls "Victorian Lace Eggs."